Sunday, March 11, 2012

Sunday poetry: a phoenix

Mixed in with a bunch of other random books I found today's poem, in a handbound edition of Rainmakers by Deborah Ward, with linocuts by Billie Bowman. Coyote Love Press put this lovely, slim volume out in 1984, with type hand-set in Janson. This copy is one of 26 lettered copies in the edition of 226. Those 26 lettered copies were hand sewn by Lorene Burman and bound in boards covered with paper marbled by Rick Swann. Both the author and the artist handsigned the colophon page, and the copy I have is letter "k" -- it's a very solid book, for all its reedlike presence on the shelf. So in a way, the book itself is a poem, before you even get to the pages inside!
Self-Portrait with Phoenix

You see, I've burned back to you,
she said. And I knew the blue ashes
as roses from my own throat

and I opened my dark drapery
to chamber her, inhale those ashes
there; petals, blue smoke.

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